I first heard him as I was reading and settling in for the night. That deep, soft, repetitive sound that could only be one thing; an owl. I went to the window to listen more closely. Every few minutes, he’d hoot again. I ran downstairs to tell my husband who loves these kinds of sightings. We went out on the back porch to listen. Over and over again, he hooted into the night. He was pretty close to the house. He must have found a nice spot in the line of trees by the stone wall.
I heard him again the next day as I was making coffee in the darkness of the early morning hours. Hoot, hoot, hoooooot. Was he happy and just singing out to let us know? Or was he calling for a mate somewhere, or maybe protecting his new territory? As the sun rose in the sky, the hoots stopped. I hoped he’d be there tonight when the girls arrived home for a fall weekend.
We arrived home after a nice dinner and made our way quietly along the stone wall. The fall leaves crunched under our feet. I worried we might scare off our new friend. We found a spot and stopped to listen. We stood in silence and waited. Had he moved on? We’d had owls before, but they had only stayed around for a day or two. We whispered and waited. And then we heard it. So quiet at first. Just a muffled hoot. Was that him? We waited and listened. Listened and waited. Then a few minutes later, it started up. Hoot, hoot, hooooooot. He was above us. Watching us. Welcoming us home.